Hang A Tale Theater Company will present a special engagement of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, starring Drama Desk nominee Joel de la Fuente (Inspector Kido in “Man in the High Castle”, “Hemlock Grove”), and helmed by Lisa Rothe (Science Fair: An Opera with Experiments at HERE), at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (18 Bleecker Street at the corner of Elizabeth Street), December 3-20, 2017.
Hold These Truths explores the life and legacy of civil rights pioneer Gordon Hirabayashi, a 2012 posthumous winner of the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is a little-known chapter of American history, when civil liberties were under attack, constitutional rights violated, and issues of race hotly debated by a divided country.
Inspired by the true story of University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi, Hold These Truths follows Gordon during the U.S. Government’s decision to forcibly remove and incarcerate people of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Hirabayashi openly defied the relocation and internment and refused to report for evacuation to an internment camp, instead turning himself in to the FBI to assert his belief that these practices were racially discriminatory. Consequently, he was convicted by a U.S. Federal District Court in Seattle of defying the exclusion order and violating curfew. Hirabayashi appealed his conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him in 1943. Following World War II and his imprisonment, Hirabayashi obtained a doctoral degree in sociology and became a professor. In 1987, his conviction was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Helmed by Lisa Rothe, Joel de la Fuente will reprise his role as Gordon Hirabayashi and 36 other characters in Hold These Truths, which had its New York premiere in October 2012 in a production by Epic Theatre Ensemble at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y. Sakata’s solo show tells the story of Gordon Hirabayshi as he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal and to maintain his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution. In Hold These Truths we witness Hirabayashi as he journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs – and a confrontation with its failures.
During WWII in Seattle, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi fights the US government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he struggles to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the US Constitution, Gordon begins a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs – and a confrontation with its failures.
“When I first heard of Gordon Hirabayashi in the late 1990’s, I was enthralled – and shocked. Shocked that I had never heard of his story before” said playwright Jeanne Sakata. “I knew I had to try to bring his story to the American stage, not just as an act of healing for myself, my family, and my community, but also to inspire and give hope to any American citizen who has been denied equal treatment under the law promised by our Constitution because of factors such as race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Performances: Mon 12/4, Wed 12/6, Thu 12/7, Fri 12/8, Tue 12/12, Wed 12/13, Thu 12/14, Fri 12/15, Mon 12/18, Tue 12/19, and Wed 12/20 at 7:30pm; Sun 12/3, Sat 12/9, and Sat 12/16 at 2pm & 7:30pm; Sun 12/10 and Sun 12/17 at 2pm. Tickets (20 seats at $29; 50 seats at $49; 10 seats at $59) are available for advance purchase at sheencenter.org/shows/holdthesetruths or by calling 212-925-2812. The performance will run approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.
HANG A TALE is a New York City based, non-profit theater company. Jesse Liebman, Kim Martin-Cotten and Michael Arden Larson have come together to create intimate, actor-driven productions for the Off-Broadway stage. Our mission is to reexamine, reimagine and reinvigorate stories for the theater. We seek tales of universality, old and new, that transcend the limitations of time. We search for stories that inspire us and start conversations about our lives and the world around us. We do not to limit ourselves to any particular playwright or style. We embrace our diverse, dynamic surroundings and remain open to co-creation and inclusiveness. Go to http://www.hangatale.org to learn more.
THE SHEEN CENTER FOR THOUGHT & CULTURE is a forum to showcase works highlighting the true, the good, and the beautiful. Located downtown on historic Bleecker Street, the Sheen Center is a vibrant new arts organization that focuses on theater, music, film, and talk. A project of the Archdiocese of New York, the state-of-the-art complex encompasses the 270-seat Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition livestream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat Black Box Theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery. It was named after the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best known for his popular, inspirational radio and TV ministry in the 1950s and 60s. Visit http://www.sheencenter.org for more information.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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